But now my body, which had spent so many years letting me down and making decisions without my consent, had gone and done something absolutely right — and done it better. It had done something other people’s bodies, “healthy” bodies, hadn’t been able to.
It’s a boy, until and unless he tells us otherwise, I thought. It’s a boy who will be raised without gender roles. It’s a boy who will be defined by their heart and mind, not by the organs that happen to be between their legs. It’s a boy who will be loved wholly, deeply, and completely by the two women who created him.
4. You were so much prettier with long hair.
“I once had a life where I could go blocks, miles, months without a stranger standing in my way, saying, ‘Hey girl, where you goin’ in such a hurry?’ I want to take my personal space bubble to the shop and have it re-inflated to its original size, but that chapter of my life seems to be done.”
“After three hours of waiting, the director sits us on the couch amongst three or four other couples. We stare deeply into the camera. I hype myself up. Look into the camera like it is a lover, NO, a hamburger! Look at the camera like it is a hamburger.”
While I started getting some hints that I was trans at an early age, my roots didn’t really take hold until I was older. Here are some of the stops along the way.
My family used to joke that only white people need therapy. Meanwhile, white academics told me that African-Americans merely fabricated ungrounded stigma around psychiatric help. No one ever tells you that the healthcare system is sick.
“Whose sperm is this?” she asked me once. Maybe it was the first time. “It’s mine,” I said. I didn’t know what else to say. I had paid for it. No one else was coming to get it.
“Sad cloud” and “naked Christmas tree” did not make the list. You’re welcome, makers of anti-depressant commercials!
“Like Russia itself, my parents’ instincts are torn. My birth country can’t make up its mind whether it wants its culture to be a part of liberal Europe or conservative Asia, my birth parents can’t make up their minds between simply loving their only child and feeling like there is something fundamentally broken about me now.”
“I guess if I freak the fuck out so much at the prospect of someone reading my journal then I should probably stop doing the things I end up writing about but that seems unattainable at this point in my life.”
“I hated my body and punished it, and it hated me and punished me back. Is that what happened? That’s the thing about getting sick the way I got sick: nailing it down.”
“I did not intend to have any experiences outside the range of what I had previously proven to myself I was comfortable with or could understand. Scully and I both convinced ourselves that this was possible, that it had ever been a possibility.”
“The truth is always messy. I told myself I could be gay and I wouldn’t ever be hurt again. I needed to never be hurt again.”
“I was angry. Really fucking angry. Angry because Jenny Schecter was right.”
I finally feel safe enough to imagine the big queer family I never had. A home where gender is an option, not an obligation, where parents can apologize to each other as well as to their kids and where long, ongoing conversations about race, power and privilege exist.
“Netflix is kinda like my fag hag, the kind that wraps you up in a warm rainbow blanket with a bowl of soup when you’re recovering from a Cinco de Mayo hangover.”
How do I move past only feeling Native based on whether I fish or know the traditional ways? How can I push past feeling like my queer identity is tied to how much I listen to Uh Huh Her?
I imagine myself as not myself, at my grandparents’ apartment this Christmas, wearing makeup, a women’s blouse, long hair combed to the middle of my back: What he thought I would grow up to be, what my mom thought I would grow up to be.
“I have always been a traveler, particularly as an immigrant and as a person with family hailing from Venezuela to Dominica to South India, ‘home’, ‘family’ and ‘belonging’ have always been complicated concepts.”